Stevia is a natural herb used as a calorie-free, carbohydrate-free sweetener. It can be substituted for sugar in cooking to reduce the amount of sugar and calories in the recipe. Stevia may lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels, making it beneficial for people with hypertension or diabetes. Because stevia is much sweeter than regular sugar, substituting it in recipes can be a trial-and-error process before getting it just right.
1 Determine how much sugar you need. If you are using a recipe, find out how much sugar the recipe calls for.
2 Convert the amount of sugar into a stevia equivalent. Stevia is commonly sold in powder or liquid form. For 1 cup of sugar, use 1 teaspoon of powder or 1 teaspoon of liquid. For 1 tablespoon of sugar, use 1/4 teaspoon of powder or six to nine drops of liquid. For 1 teaspoon of sugar, use one pinch to 1/16 teaspoon of powder or two to four drops of liquid.
3 Replace the sugar with correct amount of stevia. For example, if your recipe calls for 2 cups of sugar, use 2 teaspoons of powder or 2 teaspoons of liquid. Mix according to recipe instructions.
4 Use an ingredient to replace the bulk of the sugar in the recipe. For every cup of sugar that is replaced by stevia, add 1/3 cup of the bulk ingredient to the recipe. You will need to do this because you use stevia in a much smaller amount compared to sugar. Good options to add bulk include yogurt, unsweetened applesauce, egg whites, fruit juice, fruit puree or water. You only need bulk substitutions when you are using recipes. For items like coffee or tea, where you use sugar as a sweetener, you do not need to add any other ingredients for bulk.
Items you will need
- Stevia (liquid or powder form)
- Measuring cup, measuring spoons or liquid dropper
- The substitution equivalencies are approximate. Adjust the amount to your individual taste preference. Too much stevia can make a food or recipe taste bitter. The quality and sweetness also differ between brands of stevia. Try a few brands to find one you like.
- Because stevia does not have the same molecular structure and quality as sugar, some recipes will not work with stevia. For instance, caramel requires caramelized sugar to form. Other desserts, like cookies and fudge, are possible but may require multiple tries to perfect the process.
- Although stevia is generally recognized as safe, much research is needed before declaring it safe to use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
- Stevia is non-fermentable, so it is not a food source for yeast in recipes. Breads made with stevia will still rise but not as much as those made with sugar.
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